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Community corner: Food pantry changes coming

By Drew Johnson, Director

South County Community Services never stopped offering food four days a week during the pandemic. But for over a year, we did not offer in-person shopping; instead, we either distributed pre-made food boxes, or, later in the pandemic, made up boxes for families who gave us their curbside orders based on a printed “menu”.

It wasn’t perfect but it got us through, and it allowed us to continue to provide food for people while also keeping clients and volunteers safe.

About two months ago we returned to in-person shopping, a change that I think has really benefited those who rely on our pantry. What that means is that now someone who needs food walks through the pantry with a volunteer and picks out their own food, as opposed to giving us directions on what things they would like. This makes a big difference when we get food like we did from the Postal Food Drive in May—it’s so varied that it really provides a lot more choice to pantry clients, and we are happy to be able to allow them that choice instead of having to decide for them!

In addition to ALL of the great food from the Postal Food Drive — we haven’t even finished sorting and weighing it all yet; see the South County Community Services Thanks YOU ad in this issue for a final total —right now we are also giving out Ants on a Log kits for families with children and Farmer’s Market vouchers for use at the Vicksburg Farmer’s Market. We understand that food is a basic need, and that good food, the food YOU want and cooked the way YOU like it, is so much more than just calories to get you through the day.

A few things to know about our pantry:

We are open Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-noon, but are able to accommodate other times with advance notice.

We no longer require families to call Loaves and Fishes to schedule — you may call us at 649-2901 to set up a time or walk in during our pantry hours.

There are no eligibility guidelines for our pantry. Anyone who needs food is welcome.

We are a Loaves and Fishes pantry. This means that we get free food from Loaves and Fishes, but in return must follow their guidelines. One guideline is the amount of food that each family receives—approximately 8 days’ worth of food, determined by household size. Another is that each family may only receive two pantries per calendar month.

We absolutely can take your food donations! We love getting unique and varied food to complement the more basic food that we purchase from Meijer and that we get from Loaves and Fishes. Things like condiments, spices, and coffee are greatly appreciated and rarely available.

Drew lives in Kalamazoo and is the Director at South County Community Services. He has a small quarter acre homestead with chickens, bees, and hops (and more!), a wonderful wife, and three energetic children. He can be reached at 649-2901 or

For more information on South County Community Services, please check out our Facebook page at or visit our website:

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